Chicago is well known for many things such as its excellent food and fantastic cultural venues, but what may be less well known is the fact that many Chicago landmarks have been highlighted in literary works. Many writers were born and raised in Chicago and have chosen to highlight Chicago landmarks in their writing. Some writers have visited Chicago and found that Chicago is the perfect fiction or non-fiction setting for their book. These Chicago sites serve as literary landmarks often recognized in the pages of a great book.

Willis Tower (CBS)

Willis Tower (CBS)

Willis Tower
233 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 875-0066

Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is one of the Chicago landmarks featured in the children’s book “Where is the Sears Tower?” by Tad Mitchell. This is a story about Peter Pigeon who flies from the University of Notre Dame to Chicago to visit his grandfather at the Sears Tower, renamed Willis Tower. The Willis Tower is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago, and there are over 1 million people a year who visit the observation deck of The Willis Tower to get an incredible view of the city of Chicago.

The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-9410

The Field Museum is one of the primary Chicago landmarks discussed in the book “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson. The book is set in Chicago in 1893 and weaves the true stories of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the 1893 World’s Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, a serial killer. The Field Museum was originally called the Palace of Fine Arts from the World’s Columbian Exposition and in the book, this building is frequently mentioned. The Field Museum is considered to be one of the finest natural history museums in the U.S.

(Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

Grant Park
331 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-3918

Grant Park is a large urban park, approximately 319 acres located in the Loop area of Chicago. Chicagoans often refer to it as “Chicago’s front yard.” “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger, features characters Henry and Clare in Chicago and many Chicago landmarks are referred to in the story, with Grant Park being one of them.

Related: Guide to Chicago’s Literary Landmarks

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

The modern Chicago novel, “The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore,” by Benjamin Hale, is about an ape who learns to talk and was born at Lincoln Park Zoo. However, the ape quickly needs to leave and find his prosperity elsewhere. Lincoln Park Zoo is free to the public and is open 365 days a year.

Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

In the novel, “Generosity: An Enhancement,” by Richard Powers, one of the main characters named Russell Stone is a magazine editor and teaches part-time college classes at a fictional version of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Russell Stone is very intrigued by one of his students who has a mental health condition. The Art Institute of Chicago is one million square feet and is the second largest art museum in the U.S.

Related: Best Places For Book And Literary Events In Chicago

Michelle Guilbeau is an elementary teacher living in Chicago, Illinois. She has also experience in school administration and literacy coaching. Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on